Marine Link
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Wakashio Wreck Removal Completed

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 20, 2022

(Photo; bMC Group)

(Photo; bMC Group)

Technical operations to remove the wreck of the Wakashio bulk carrier that ran aground and broke up off Mauritius wrapped up this week as salvors recovered final sections of ship debris that were lying up to 500 meters away from the site of the stern section.

On July 25, 2020, the 300-meter Wakashio struck a reef near Pointe d'Esny off the Indian Ocean island's east coast, triggering an ecological disaster and prompting the Mauritian government to declare a state of emergency. In total, about 1,000 metric tons of fuel oil spilled from the cracked hull of the Panamanian-flagged vessel into the water and onto shore before salvage crews managed to remove most of the ship's remaining oil. The condition of the large 203,130 dwt bulker continued to deteriorate, and the vessel split in two.

The wreck was declared a total loss and the authorities in Mauritius issued a wreck removal order. The owners and their protection and indemnity insurer, Japan P&I, turned to specialist marine consultancy firm brand Marine Consultants (bMC), based in Germany and operating worldwide.

In October 2020, bMC was requested by the owners and Japan P&I to assess the available options, to carry out the difficult task of the wreck removal and give its expert opinion on the options. Following an in-depth review of all possible methods and suitable equipment, bMC was convinced that the crane barge Hong Bang 6 would prove to be the most effective tool available.

The exposed, shallow water, high energy location was difficult for the team and the crane barge to operate at and provided numerous technical challenges. Once sea conditions allowed, the crane barge and its powerful grab, with a massive 5,000 ton closing force, were able to dismantle the wreck and remove the wreck piece by piece. The team of Lian Yuangang Dali have worked hard over the past four months to bring this mission to a conclusion.

Senior bMC consultant Captain Ajay Prasad said, “The removal of the aft section of the Wakashio from this location was always going to be a tough task, and it certainly proved to be so. The key for us was to identify the fastest method for the removal of Wakashio and we are pleased that removal works were completed safely after just 30.7 days of crane operations at the worksite. The sea conditions at the site have been difficult as expected. Added to that, the team have had to manage logistics in this remote location and considering some of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, it’s added another layer of problems for us all to solve. But, after a huge effort by the whole team, we are there.”

The project was supported by local companies Polyeco, Celero, Samlo and Immersub. What remains now is the shore side dismantling of the scrap metal at the shore base in Port Louis, to allow transportation of the metal by road to a smelting and production facility operated by Samlo. The shore side works can be expected to take approximately another month. The Hong Bang 6 will soon be collected by a semi-submersible heavy lift ship in the coming days that will transport it back to China.

Captain Dennis Brand, Managing Director of brand Marine Consultants, recently arrived in Mauritius to witness first-hand the final stages of the project. He summed up his thoughts: “I’m proud of the whole team here and I thank them for all their efforts. Lian Yuangang Dali have done a great job. So have every one of the contractors working on the project. The Mauritius people and numerous Island companies have lived and breathed this project with us. Without their support and patience, the job would not have been possible, and I am glad that things can go back to normal now.”

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